Top Tips to be a Successful Mobile or Remote Work at Home Worker
Written by Roberta J. Fox, FOX GROUP Technology – 1986, updated March 2020
Being a successful mobile worker takes much more than just good technology skills. From years of experience working from many types of locations, including our home offices, we have developed a list of the top skills, knowledge and tips required to be a successful mobile and remote worker.
Well versed in verbal communication skills
In order to dictate effective voice mails, disregarding your mobile device or location, it is important to leave a concise message that clearly communicates your main points, provides the best call-back details, and is respectful of your caller’s time.
Our easiest way to think about these types of concerns is leave the message as if we were being recorded while talking, (which is becoming more and more common these days anyway),...would it cause any problems if the message was forwarded to anyone?
If we have concerns about this, we make up acronyms or short forms for a person’s name or company that we all agree to. Here is an example for illustrative purposes....”This is Roberta Fox leaving a message for JS (John Smith) of AB (AB Company Inc.) confirming our meeting at the location discussed for noon tomorrow. I can be contacted at 289.648.1981 or Roberta.Fox@FOXGROUP.ca if changes are required”.
Excellent written communication skills
Mobile and remote workers generally communicate the written word via multiple means, such as email and text messaging. The best tip to effective written communications is to err on being conservative by using proper grammar, punctuation and spelling, while being respectful of the person’s business culture, language and expectations.
To minimize the risk of your written message being misunderstood, we advise our clients to think this way...If your written message or document appeared in court as evidence; would it be misconstrued, taken as slanderous or appear inaccurate? Again, with new laws mandating some organizations to record all communications, including email and text messaging, caution is warranted.
This approach may seem a bit extreme or old fashioned, particularly by younger generations, but we believe that written communications should be clear, concise and accurate to minimize the chance of being misunderstood. We find that the more cryptic the message, the easier it is to misunderstand.
As mobile and remote workers, one needs to be very aware of not only how much remaining power a critical device like your cell phone or laptop computer has remaining, but where is close access to electrical power, if needed.
This applies whether you are working in an office, a restaurant, an airport lounge, or within your vehicle. We have trained our mobile professionals to check for electrical outlets when travelling in order to be prepared in advance.
For those of us that travel in our vehicles extensively, we have standardized models of DC power converters to enable us to charge our devices while in transit. We even have spare adaptors available for our PDAs and cell phones for vehicles or regular AC power.
We also use high quality power bars to provide power conditioning for our laptop computers and other technology devices. The power bar protects the devices by providing a , filtered power source, and also extends access from an outlet that may be such that little bit out of reach.
Proper transport, storage and security for the various technology devices
In order to prevent future physical problems, it is important to provide technology carrying bags designed to hold the various devices regularly used. We have standardized on leather computer cases with roller blade type wheels that have long, strong telescopic handles, and padded shoulder straps.
For those of us who prefer backpacks, we have standardized on well made leather computer backpacks that have padded shoulder straps, properly sized, reinforced pockets with good, sturdy zippers.
To add security, we use computer cable locking units with combination locks to secure either the computer or our technology bag, as and when required. Some of us even have the models that have a loud audible alarm that will activate when the bag is moved. These devices have prevented theft of our computer bags and contents multiple times at airports and hotels over the years.
Well designed, well made technology bags are well worth the extra investment. Many of us have had ours for over ten years, even after hundreds of thousands of miles in the air and on the road!
Last tip involves technology skills and self sufficiency across multiple devices
Many mobile and remote workers use PDAs, cell phones, laptop computers, wired or wireless headsets, an external mouse and keyboard and even microphones and video cameras connected, or built in to their computer.
As mobile workers, we have learned how to connect, configure and use most, if not all of these devices and the associated software programs required for our jobs, either through in-house education, peers or experience.
Since we work away from our corporate offices most of the time, we have developed the skills and processes to backup information to large capacity RAM drives and over the Internet, become self sufficient and very proficient in using the various computer programs required, and have even learned how to troubleshoot and isolate problems with our various technology devices.
This technology self sufficiency increases professional productivity, reduces our use of internal technology support resources, but most importantly allows us to effectively work from a wide variety of mobile locations.
There are unexpected personal benefits from being a successful mobile worker. With the evolution of next generation network technologies available now and continuing to improve in the future, we can also work from a cottage, a boat, or from friends or family locations, with a work-life balance finally becoming possible
Update due to COVID-19:
These tops tips can be applied to temporary measures where many people are now required to work at home.
If you would like to discuss this article, feel free to send me an email, and we can set up a 15 minute complementary web call to discuss further.